NEWS

Rap for Kozani electricity plant

The operations of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) near Kozani, in northern Greece, violate a series of regulations governing environmental protection and public health, according to a report issued by an Environment and Public Works Ministry agency. The report was compiled by the experts of the Environmental Protection Service following a tour of PPC’s local lignite power stations and mines last June. Its release coincides with reports over the weekend that traces of oil have been found in a nearby stream just a few days after a leak was reported at a nearby power station. In the report, experts note that PPC has taken no measures to store the large quantities of ash produced by the power stations, which has made the atmosphere in the area asphyxiating. «There are no protected zones, potentially dangerous areas are not cordoned off and waste management is not carried out according to regulations in force,» an extract from the report said. Experts also criticized PPC managers for failing to take measures to curb the dust clouds created by the frequent comings and goings of trucks in the area. Kozani’s Prefect Giorgos Dakis said that the findings of the report vindicate the complaints of residents over the past several years. «It simply provides data that confirm the massive problem with pollution that local residents experience every day,» he said. PPC, which claims to implement the required measures, has faced a series of fines for its activities, most recently a 40,000-euro fine from Kozani’s prefectural authorities last month. Residents regularly stage protests to express their exasperation with the pollution problem. At the end of last month residents were up in arms following a report that 200 tons of oil had leaked from the Aghios Dimitrios power station, which is just 3 kilometers from a village of about 1,000 residents. Last year residents staged a series of symbolic protests, on several occasions seizing control of conveyor belts carrying lignite into factories. In one case riot police were called in to disperse protesters.